Small businesses that make website accommodations to improve accessibility for those with disabilities may now be eligible for a tax credit.
When it comes to ADA (American Disabilities Act) Compliance, what comes to mind?
- sign language interpreters for those with hearing impairments;
- readers for employees or customers with visual impairments;
- adapted or modified equipment;
- the availability of print materials in accessible formats (e.g., Braille, audio tape, large print)
- equitable access in buildings or vehicles for those individuals with disabilities; and even fees for consulting services (if there is a need.)
What about the ability for those with disabilities to access and peruse websites?
Most notably, your small business website?
When it comes to website accessibility, many small businesses innocently fail to consider the disabled user while designing a site. Maybe you’re unclear about what accommodations are necessary for those with disabilities. Or just how the heck to implement those accommodations on digital platforms.
We live in an age where websites are a key tool for both our businesses and personal lives, and accessibility issues are finally getting the attention they deserve. Websites are used for shopping online, accessing financial accounts, making medical appointments, communicating with friends and family, and even taking a class or online training. We may take for granted our ease in accessing digital forms, media, records, textbooks, groceries, clothing, housewares, etc., but some sites aren’t accessible for everyone.
Since websites are an everyday part of work and life flow, how is it that many sites are not accessible for those with disabilities even though the tools to create accessible websites exist? Lack of knowledge may be one reason, which is why enlisting a web developer with expertise in proper front-end adjustments (for example, font size and color contrast) as well as back-end coding knowledge to ensure a site is accessible via non-standard means, is essential. However, updating or rebuilding websites to be ADA compliant can also be cost-prohibitive for small business owners, which is why many resist it initially or when performing upgrades.
Two things are clear. There is a need. And there is a cost.
There is a risk in ignoring the priority of making a website ADA compliant, as confirmed by the Department of Justice in 2018. ADA compliance for websites is definitely required for businesses of all sizes. Refusing or procrastinating in bringing a website “up to code” could make a business liable for lawsuits.
To help small businesses (as defined by having $1,000,000 total revenue or less in the prior tax year, or 30 or fewer full-time employees) understand the importance of accessibility and to provide financial assistance, the ADA has altered the Tax Code.
“Section 44 of the IRS Code allows a tax credit for small businesses and Section 190 of the IRS Code allows a tax deduction for all businesses.”
A Tax Credit for Website ADA Compliance Costs can cover up to 50% of up to $10,000 in qualified expenses. This amount would include a website build or upgrade with a maximum of $5,000 being credited back to the small business. Businesses can claim the credit using the Disabled Access Credit on IRS Form 8826.
Want to do your own homework?
But, I’m sure you will find a tool on that site that will work for you. It allows you to check for specific ADA compliance issues, such as color contrast, text size, alt text of your images, and more. But the downside is that these tools typically allow you to analyze one page at a time, rather than your entire site at once. Who has time for that?
We also recommend that you check your website traffic as well. Knowing where you start from is the best way to set goals and ensure you’re constantly improving your online presence.
So, you want us to do it for you?
We can help you discern the necessary changes that are needed on your website through our signature Website Mini-Audit.
Each Website Mini-Audit is informed by research and results in a document that concretely outlines where your website is now and how it can be improved.
We will examine and detail suggestions in these categories:
Content & Marketing
Performance & Security
Then, we will provide you with a document and a handy checklist for future improvements. You can focus on individual categories in the list above, according to your budget, starting with the more pressing sections first.
But, don’t worry, you’ll also receive a recording from us going over the document and explaining the nerdy details to you! (Are you a DIYer? We got you! We even teach you how to perform your own website audit.)
We are totally available to address both the pressing needs related to your website or just to lend an ear (and a hand) when you have general web stuff making your head spin!
Websites can be tricky, and ever-changing, but we’re not going anywhere.
And don’t forget to share the goods with your small business friends!